Monday, 31 January 2011

The Educational Cost of Stormont Rule

A sustained series of attacks are under way in the Six Counties. They are attacks that will be targeted at the vast majority of the population, that will have no result other than to drive people into despair and misery and, yet, will be justified by their proponents through the avenue of every single major media outlet.
The attacks began with the publication in late December of the Six County executive’s budget proposals, alongside a four-year spending plan. The attacks mean that working people will face massive job losses in the public sector, repeated attacks on their employment conditions, a significant reduction in the level of public transport provision and the slashing of much of the funding for social and sports projects.

The message that came off the pages of Stormont’s budget was couched in politically correct, environmentally friendly bureaucrat-speak, but none of this could hide the real intent of the document.

A look at the proposals from one department is enough to expose the nature of the budget – the Six County Department of Education, run by Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane.

Probably the most shocking statistics of all are from the department’s proposals in relation to the capital section, which incorporates expenditure on school building, repair work and some maintenance requirements.

In the original December budget, Ruane signed up to capital expenditure cut backs to the tune of £42 million [€49 million], a reduction of 24 per cent on the previous year. This percentage figure would have meant that a Sinn Féin minister would have been presiding over cut backs of only marginally less than those proposed by the much-criticised Fianna Fáil-led administration in the Twenty-Six Counties. The Soldiers of Destiny drafted cutbacks of just over 29 per cent in its own capital budget in the education sector.

Shocking as this already is; this month, with the Six County Department of Education publishing its own detailed proposals for 2011-12, it now stated that another £41 million [€48 million] is to be sucked out of the capital budget to cover day-to-day costs of running schools. This means that Ruane has agreed to slash the capital budget by almost half.

In the same document where the cuts are proposed, she acknowledges the following: “The schools estate of over 1,200 schools has accommodation with an asset valuation of over £4 billion. The education estate has suffered from a lack of investment over a prolonged period with a maintenance backlog currently estimated at £300m and a backlog of minor works projects currently estimated at around £100m.

“There is a legacy of many old and deteriorating schools which are, in some instances, insufficient to meet the needs of the curriculum. In any year, there is investment needed in essential capital works to meet statutory requirements such as disability access, essential health and safety issues and to deal with crises such as the flooding resulting from the recent cold weather.”

The bottom line is that, in the coming year, no new school building projects will be started and only those that are already underway will be finished, with large numbers of already approved building schemes now to be put on the long finger.

The bad news for schoolchildren in the Six Counties doesn’t end there. A quick perusal of projected spending over the next four years shows that very few school building projects will be started in the medium term.

In his recent speech attacked the Dublin government’s blood budget, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty asked the Fianna Fáil minister: “When was the last time you visited a school made entirely out of prefabs with 30 kids squashed into a classroom with one teacher?”

Clearly, from the above figures, Caitríona Ruane could be assailed in a similar fashion.

Behind all the talk in the British-inspired budget about equality, good educational outcomes and raising standards for all, many more vicious attacks are hidden in the Six County Department of Education’s proposals for the next four years.

Over £50 million [€58 million] is to be cut from the ICT budgets of schools; free school transport is to be significantly cutback, with the budget reduction of over £20 million [€23 million] meaning many students will now be unable to reach their schools on public transport; over £100 million [€117 million] is to be ‘saved’ by the short-sighted measure of closing schemes providing professional support to teachers; and the figure of £3 million [€3.5 million] is be gouged from school meals provision.

Classroom assistants and teachers will see many jobs lost on top of the hundreds already cut. The department also hopes to save money by attacking the right of teachers to appropriate sick leave and will be reducing the rates paid for substitute teachers.

What we are witnessing across Ireland is a vicious assault on public services and the living conditions of working class people, regardless of the claims of those who wish to be, temporarily at least, the party of protest in one state and the party of ‘power’ in the other.

The blueprints for the social and economic destruction of working class communities in Ireland have been carefully drafted by right-wing ideologues in the IMF and a British Tory government. Those tasked with implementing these blueprints, especially at Stormont, had a simple choice to make; either resign, challenge the wreckers to do their own dirty work and join the rest of us on the streets or meekly accept the diktats of the real power brokers. They chose the latter.

It now falls upon the working people in both states, those who have no vested interest in the set-ups at Stormont and Leinster House to build a genuine, powerful opposition to the anti-social cuts, from whichever direction they come.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

éirígí Ard-Fheis Visitors Harassed

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has condemned the police harassment of a number of Scottish activists upon their return from last weekend’s party Ard-Fheis.
The men had taken the ferry from Belfast to Stranraer in the aftermath of the annual conference on the Falls Road but, on their arrival in the Scottish port, they were accosted by several police officers.

They were questioned about their reasons for being in Belfast and had their belongings searched before one of them, Ian Lynch, was detained for further questioning.

Mr Lynch had all his personal possessions, including his wedding ring, confiscated before being placed in a holding cell. He was then questioned for one hour and 40 minutes about éirígí, party literature he had in his bags, who he had met and where he had stayed during his time in Belfast.

After they had finished their highly political line of questioning to no avail, the Scottish police released Lynch without charge.

Mac Cionnaith said: “It is par for the course that éirígí-organised events receive the unwelcome attentions of both the British and Twenty-Six County state police forces. However, this does not make the harassment of activists returning from open political events any more acceptable.

“Given the presence of several PSNI vehicles, including two cars containing Special Branch officers, outside our Ard-Fheis venue throughout last Sunday, it is obvious that the PSNI had contacted their Scottish counterparts in relation to the presence of several Ard-Fheis visitors from Scotland.

“Given the line of questioning to which these men were subject to, it was obvious that the Stranraer police knew the men were returning from a legitimate political and public event organised by éirígí.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “The powers that be should be aware that no amount of harassment will deter éirígí and its supporters from building further links between progressive organisations in Ireland and Scotland, England and Wales.

“Actions by both the PSNI and Scottish police merely underline the unchanged nature of British political policing and the hostility with which those forces have for Irish republicans and members of the progressive left in Scotland.”

Bloody Sunday 2011 – No Civil Rights Without National Rights

Thousands of people will gather in Derry this weekend to mark the 39th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

As the marchers gather at Creggan Shops on Sunday [January 30] to retrace the steps of the original civil rights marchers, as has been done every year since 1972, they will do so knowing a massive weight has been lifted from the shoulders of the families of the dead and injured.
In June last year, decades of determined campaigning by the Bloody Sunday families finally paid off when British prime minister David Cameron was forced to apologise for the actions of his army in January 1972.

The relatives of the dead were vindicated and could, at last, find some peace in the knowledge that Britain had owned up to what Derry and the world have known for so long.
However, the British establishment is nothing if not reticent in its admissions of guilt.

While the Saville Inquiry did, indeed, find that British soldiers deliberately shot dead peaceful civil rights marchers in Derry, it claimed that the buck stopped there. The inquiry exonerated the higher echelons of Britain’s military and political establishment and ruled that the blame lay only with the mass murderers who pulled the triggers, not the mass murderers who called the shots.

The narrative of an out-of-control regiment running amok might have more credibility if Bloody Sunday was an isolated incident. It wasn’t. Months before that, after the introduction of internment in August 1971, the British Parachute Regiment shot dead 11 people, including a mother of eight children and a parish priest, over a 48-hour period in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast.

In the months after Bloody Sunday, the New Lodge and Springhill massacres claimed the lives of more innocent nationalists. Over an 18 month period, encompassing Bloody Sunday, the British army murdered nearly 100 people in the Six Counties with impunity. Taking into account the activities of the RUC, UDR and the unofficial pro-British death squads the total figure for the period is a lot higher.

The reality is that the British army was engaged in a government-sanctioned campaign to crush resistance in the Six Counties, a campaign that included interment, torture, routine brutality and, when the occasion called for it, mass killings.

While Saville didn’t have a remit to rule on other massacres, its findings moved Bloody Sunday out of its proper context in terms of British government strategy.

When David Cameron stood in the House of Commons to apologise for Bloody Sunday, he did so with large caveats attached; namely, that this was his first and last apology in relation to Britain’s role in Ireland and that the bloodbath in Derry was the exception to, rather than general experience of, the British military occupation.

In the months since, other families campaigning for truth and justice have felt the heartbreaking impact of Britain trying to unilaterally draw a line in its own sordid past. The families of the Ballymurphy victims, for example, have been met with a stone wall of indifference by the British state. In their most recent meeting with British secretary of state Owen Patterson, the families of the dead were greeted by the sight of the direct ruler sporting an armband in support of one particular British army regiment.

The victory the Bloody Sunday families won over the British state is made all the more exceptional by that state’s attitude towards the victims of state violence.

It is now time to take up the gauntlet for the families of the Ballymurphy and Springhill dead and for every single family who has lost a loved one as a result of British government policy in Ireland.

So make your way to Derry on Sunday and salute the courage of the Bloody Sunday families. March in memory of the dead and in defiance of British lies. Pledge your solidarity to the families still campaigning for truth and justice. And, remember, every one of us remains without our civil and human rights while our national rights are denied by the British occupation.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Persecution of Newry Republican

In recent months, éirígí in Newry has been to the fore in exposing and opposing the unchanged nature of British policing in occupied Ireland.

As a result, party activists and supporters in the area have been at the receiving end of PSNI assaults, intimidation, stop and searches, house raids, threats and provocation.

Activists have highlighted this harassment by organising protests and leaflet drops, erecting banners, stickers and posters and actively challenging the PSNI on the streets when they are engaged in such behaviour.

One example in particular is indicative of the level of harassment the PSNI has been engaged in over the last few months. éirígí in Newry were recently contacted by a local republican who was concerned at the amount of unwanted attention he has been receiving at the hands of the British police force.

The victim has been stopped and searched no less than 62 times over a period of just 7 months by the PSNI, using various forms of repressive British legislation.

He has been stopped 36 times under the so-called Justice and Security Act, during which he was searched for “wireless apparatus, transmitters and munitions”, while he has also been stopped 26 times under the British government’s ‘Terrorism Act’.

On one occasion, the man’s 14-year-old child was also stopped under Section 43 of the ‘Terrorism Act’. All of these incidents have occurred while the local republican has been going about his normal, daily business.

As well as being stopped and searched on a regular basis, he has also had his house targeted in a dawn raid, with the PSNI presenting a warrant claiming to be searching for firearms. Not surprisingly, nothing was found.

The latest incident in a litany of politically-inspired harassment occurred on Saturday [January 22] when the victim was stopped an astonishing three times in a two and-a-half hour period in the Kiln Street, Mill Street and Sugar Island areas of Newry.

The day previous he had been stopped in the city centre, where he was given a generic contact card instead of the written record the PSNI is required to fill out during instances of stop and search. The card advised the recipient to contact the local barracks for a full record of the harassment. It is possible the PSNI is now using this procedure in an attempt to isolate republicans in the confines of a barracks.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “While it’s astonishing that so much harassment is being directed towards a single individual, there are many more republicans in the Newry area and across the Six Counties who are suffering persecution at the hands of the PSNI.

“Is this the ‘new beginning’ to policing we were promised? Is this the civic, accountable police service the establishment parties desperately tried to sell to working class nationalist communities?”

Mac Cionnaith added: “While the PSNI’s cheerleaders tell us there are only ‘a few bad apples’ within the ranks of the force, it is situations like this man’s that rubbish their claims. It is clear that the PSNI is accountable to no-one other than the British government whose presence in Ireland it is duty bound to protect.

“The British police force in Ireland was rotten to the core when it was called the RIC, it was rotten to the core when it was called the RUC and it is rotten to the core under its current guise of the PSNI.

“It’s time for people to take a stand and make our voices heard loud and clear that we will not sit back and let these pro-British paramilitaries continue with their repressive actions. Those in positions of responsibility should withdraw their support for the PSNI and stand by the people they claim to represent rather than silently watching them being, once again, labelled a suspect community.

“éirígí will continue with its Different Name, Same Aim campaign in an effort to highlight the unacceptable nature of the PSNI.

“We commend the Newry republican in question for remaining steadfast in the face of this intimidation and we encourage anyone who is suffering similar treatment to contact a local éirígí activist and to have the incidents logged with their solicitor.

“éirígí will stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims of Crown Forces harassment. All those with an interest in human rights should do likewise.”

Monday, 24 January 2011

éirígí Ard-Fheis Jan 2011 – Full Report

éirígí’s fifth Ard-Fheis took place on Sunday [January 23] in Culturlánn McAdam Ó Fiaich on Belfast’s Falls Road. Up to 200 people from across Ireland attended the all day conference. The morning session focused on organisational and policy matters while the afternoon session saw a range of guest and éirígí speakers address the packed venue.
Organisational Reports

Following the adoption of standing orders and the election of a steering committee for An Ard-Fheis, a number of organisational reports were delivered by a the outgoing elected party officers, Runaí Ginearálta (General Secretary) Breandán Mac Cionnaith, Pádraig Ó Meiscill (Publicity), Daithí Mac An Mháistir (Membership) and Ciarán Heaphey (Finance). These reports were followed by a question and answer session.


The next item on the clár were motions on a wide range of issues including the British occupation of the Six Counties, the economic crisis, cutbacks to public services and the treatment of political prisoners. There were also motions mandating the incoming Ciorcal Náisiúnta to perform specific organisational and policy tasks as well as motions sending solidarity to struggles around the world.

A significant portion of the available time was given over to a discussion on the upcoming local elections in the Six Counties and the merits of éirígí putting forward candidates in same. This discussion was the latest stage in a process of internal debate about elections which began in earnest in the spring of 2009. At the end of the debate delegates voted in favour of éirígí running candidates in the May election. Click here to read all motions


 Election of National Officers

Before breaking for lunch An Ard-Fheis elected seven individuals to An Ciorcal Náisiúnta. These were
  • An Cathaoirleach (Chair) Brian Leeson
  • Leas-Chathaoirleach (Vice-Chair) Rab Jackson
  • An Rúnaí Ginearálta (General Secretary) Breandán Mac Cionnaith
  • Cisteoirí (Treasurers) Micheál Mac Neighill and Ciarán Heaphey
  • An tOifigeach Caidrimh Phoiblí (Public Relation Officer) Pádraig Ó Meiscill
  • An tOifigeach Ballraíochta (Membership Officer) Daithí Mac An Mháistir


Official Launch of From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come

After lunch the numbers in the Culturlánn swelled as a series of speakers took to the podium to address An Ard-Fheis. The first to do so was éirígí’s Daithí Mac An Mháistir who formally launched the party’s most recent policy paper From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come. Daithí not only gave a flavour of the content of the paper, he also explored the political context of its adoption and the process which was used to adopt it.



Guest Speakers

The first of four guest speakers, Patricia Campbell, President of the Independent Workers Union congratulated éirígí on the production on From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come before condemning the attacks on public services on both sides of the border. Patricia singled out the cutbacks in the areas of health and education for particular attention.


Donal Fallon of the student organisation Free Education for Everyone gave the assembled crowd a brief rundown on FEE’s campaign of resistance to student fees. He explained that the recent student protests in Dublin, Belfast and Derry had led to FEE setting up new branches in a number of third level institutions across the country. Donal finished by expressing his hope that these developments may signal the emergence of a new radical student movement.


The chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Freda Hughes impressed upon the Ard-Fheis the importance of developing an international grassroots campaign of opposition to Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. She highlighted the role that everyone has to play in boycotting Israeli goods and building pressure for divestment from Israel.

The last of the guest speakers, Pepe Gutiérrez from the Latin America Solidarity Centre, provided a unique perspective of the current economic crisis, proposing that the Latin American experience of the IMF in the 1980s and 1990s could prove useful to Irish activists today. This theme of mutual solidarity and co-operation was repeated throughout his contribution. Pepe concluded by encouraging people to have hope and belief in their ability to win through in the end. Other guests who attended the Ard-Fheis included representatives from the Communist Party of Ireland, the Workers Solidarity Movement, Kurdistan National Congress, and the Cuba Solidarity Group.


Solidarity Greetings


Following on from the guest speakers Leas-Chathaoirleach éirígí Rab Jackson read aloud a message of solidarity from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan then read out a message from the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, Teresita Trujillo. Solidarity greetings were also sent to An Ard-Fheis by the Workers Party of New Zealand, Izquierda Castellana and the Peace And Neutrality Alliance. Click here to read the full text of all solidarity greetings 


Cathaoirleach Address

Following the showing of a short éirígí video, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson gave the main address of the afternoon. In a wide ranging speech Brian paid tribute to the sacrifice of the republican community in Belfast, rejected sectarianism and highlighted éirígí’s achievements over the last five years. He also outlined the backdrop to the next ten years of struggle which will witness a number of centenary anniversaries including the 1913 Lockout, the 1916 Rising and the partition of Ireland. Brian went on to urge activists to emulate the examples of those who fought for Irish freedom a century ago, before telling people that the time had come for the poor to declare war on the rich and committing éirígí to playing its part in that war. When Brian finished his speech, folk singer Pól Mac Adaim brought An Ard-Fheis to a close with a rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann.




éirígí Ard-Fheis Decides on Electoral Intervention

The socialist republican party éirígí held its Ard-Fheis on Belfast’s Falls Road earlier today [Sunday], at which the membership voted in favour of contesting upcoming local elections in the Six Counties. Candidates will definitely stand in Belfast, with names to be announced in the very near future.

The Ard-Fheis, which was held in the Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich cultural centre, was attended by more than 200 people and was addressed by speakers from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Latin American Solidarity Centre, the Independent Workers’ Union, FEE, as well as cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson and rúnaí ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith.

Messages of solidarity were also sent by the Cuban ambassador to Ireland Teresita Trujillo and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Regarding the decision taken by the party membership on the Six County local elections, Brian Leeson said: “Five years on from the formation of éirígí, the party feels the time is right to make an electoral intervention in order to further promote a resurgent socialist republicanism.

“éirígí has no illusions about the nature of electoral politics in the Six Counties and, indeed, across Ireland. The Six Counties is an irreformably corrupt, sectarian state. No amount of elections to local councils, assemblies or foreign parliaments can change that fact.

“We believe there is a real appetite for a radical voice to emerge from working class communities that will forcefully challenge the British occupation and economic exploitation and deprivation.

Leeson added: “Ultimately, the cuts that are being implemented by the British government and its puppet administration at Stormont will have to be defeated on the streets, in our communities and in people’s workplaces. éirígí will be making the case for this course of action throughout the forthcoming election campaign.”

Monday, 10 January 2011

éirígí Greets PFLP on Anniversary

éirígí would like to send revolutionary greeetings and congratulations to the PFLP on the great occasion of its 43rd anniversary and the great success the event has been.
The PFLP has been steadfast and unwaivering in its resistance to Zionist occupying forces, and this resistance has been an inspiration to many struggles around the world, including our own struggle here in Ireland. We wish continued success to the PFLP in its struggle for the political, social and economic liberation of the Palestinian people.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

éirígí launch ‘Stormont isn’t working’ campaign in Newry

The socialist republican party, éirígí, has launched a ‘Stormont Isn’t Working’ campaign aimed at highlighting the inability of the Stormont Executive and Six County assembly to address the deepening economic crisis.

Addressing a recent meeting of party members and supporters from the Newry area, éirígí’s general secretary, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, said: “The point of éirígí’s Stormont Isn’t Working campaign is to highlight the fact that, despite an economic recession affecting greater numbers of people than officially admitted, the Stormont parties continue to collude in concealing both their own ineptitude and the full extent of that crisis from the population.

“Last month, when the Stormont Executive published its proposed budget, unemployment figures in the Six Counties had risen to 63,000 people or 7.9% of the working age population. Not included in that official figure were another 51,000 people also recognised as seeking work but who aren’t entitled to Job Seekers Allowance. That means that 114,000 people are currently seeking jobs in the Six Counties – a real but unpalatable fact that the Stormont parties will not even publicly admit. In that context, Stormont’s aim to create 4-5,000 jobs barely even addresses the problem.

“In the Newry and Mourne area, official statistics show that there are now 3,722 people, or 5.9% of the population, currently unemployed. However, if one adds in the “hidden” unemployed who are locally seeking work but don’t meet JSA criteria, then the figure for the Newry and Mourne area rises to almost 6,000 people looking for work.

“Young people are being particularly hard-hit with up to 30% of the total unemployed aged under twenty-five.”
The éirígí general secretary continued, “Despite the spin being put on Stormont’s proposed budget, it is clear that the Six County executive has totally failed to challenge the British government assault on working class communities and on the most vulnerable in our society.

“Instead, the Six County executive has fully acquiesced with the British government to administer massive cut-backs in public services. In essence, all that the Stormont executive has managed to deliver are further attacks on public service workers and further decreases in household incomes for the vast majority of families across the Six Counties as a result of increased domestic rates and the introduction of new stealth taxes.

“However, it should not be forgotten that the Stormont executive, through its previous programme for government 2008-11, had already agreed to £1.65 billion of cuts in public expenditure. And last year, the same executive approved another £350 million in cuts, bringing the total cuts approved so far by Stormont, even before this present budget takes effect, to a total of £2 billion.”

Mac Cionnaith also pointed out that, “In the Newry area, those cuts have already resulted in a serious lack of social housing. The far-reaching impact of that social housing shortage can be seen locally through the fact that, in 2010, Newry was chosen to “pilot” a private landlords scheme – further proof of Stormont’s underlying agenda to privatise public services.

“The policies being pursued by the Stormont executive will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has observed the impotence of that body since its establishment. Stormont’s economic agenda is clearly designed in Britain and implemented without question by the establishment parties in the Six County executive.

“éirígí has consistently pointed out that, as the British government introduced widespread cuts across all public sector services, Stormont would dutifully follow suit through ‘modernisation agendas’, ‘service streamlining’ and ‘investment incentives’. One recent manifestation of these unacceptable policies was the water crisis which affected thousands of families across the North.

“For working people in the Six Counties, the result of Stormont’s policies will be a massive negative impact on housing, employment, health and social services, with continued community disintegration and reduced services for the ill and vulnerable and further financial pay-offs to companies through the privatisation of public services to provide jobs with rock-bottom wages. It is also clear that essential social care services for the elderly and infirm, such as homecare and occupational therapy, will be extremely vulnerable to further cutbacks."

Mac Cionnaith concluded by stating: “éirígí has produced thousands of leaflets, posters, stickers and banners as part of this campaign, which will be distributed and erected across the Six Counties in the weeks ahead. The party will also be commissioning a number of murals and organising a number of protests and demonstrations, as well as taking part in the broader campaign against the cuts.

“Working class communities and those workers organised in trade unions must take the lead in opposing the joint wreckers’ agenda of the British government and its Stormont administration. Only a determined campaign of resistance, incorporating demonstrations and civil disobedience, can stop the right-wing politicians and business people in their tracks.

“Stormont cannot and will not provide any alternative.

“The increasingly obvious signal is that a new political, economic and social order is required right across Ireland to bring radical, meaningful and effective improvement to the lives of working class people. Stormont is a clear impediment to that.”

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Date for éirígí Ard-Fheis

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has announced the details of the socialist republican party’s reconvened Ard-Fheis.

The annual national conference was set to take place in Belfast on December 4 last but had to be postponed due to the treacherous weather conditions then prevailing across the country. The Ard-Fheis will now go ahead at the same venue, the Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich cultural centre on Belfast’s Falls Road, on Sunday, January 23.

Mac Cionnaith said: “It was unfortunate but absolutely necessary that we had to postpone the Ard-Fheis last month. However, the format and matters to be discussed on January 23 will remain the same.

“It is significant that éirígí is holding its Ard-Fheis in Belfast. The birth of Irish republicanism was announced in June 1795 on Cave Hill above the city by Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken, Thomas Russell, Samuel Neilsen and a number of other United Irishmen.

“Today, the struggle against partition and for Irish independence and reunification continues to be a 32-county one. Equally, the struggle against economic injustice and for socialism in Ireland must also be a 32-county one.

“Our objective is a sovereign, democratic, socialist republic for all of Ireland. The current crisis within capitalism in the Twenty-Six Counties demonstrates yet again the inherently unjust and anti-working class nature of that failed system throughout Ireland and elsewhere. Equally, the budget adopted at Stormont at the behest of Westminster demonstrates the subservient, colonial nature of that administration.

“At the Ard-Fheis, éirígí will be putting forward our alternative vision for a new independent country with the formal launch of the party’s major policy paper on socialism in Ireland.

“When éirígí was established in 2006, it based its project on building a solid foundation for socialist republicanism in Ireland. The task ahead of us is to bring others to the view that cosmetic tinkering with the two partitionist, economic, social and political systems in this country cannot bring about meaningful change to the lives of working people.

“We firmly believe that that, by launching this document, many others will see that the basis for equality lies in the establishment of a completely new social, economic and political order throughout Ireland.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “éirígí will be also laying out its plans for the time ahead and encouraging all republicans and socialists to get actively involved in a rejuvenated struggle for national independence and socialism.”

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

éirígí New Year Statement

éirígí extends New Year greetings to its members and supporters across Ireland and beyond and thanks them for their tireless efforts on behalf of the socialist republican struggle in 2010.
As 2011 begins, éirígí remains fully committed to the struggle for a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties and the establishment of a 32-county socialist republic.

The last year has been a devastating one for working class communities across Ireland. The Dublin and London governments, aided and abetted by Britain’s puppet parliament at Stormont, have commenced unprecedented attacks upon public services, jobs and benefits that will condemn generations to come to a life of exploitation and poverty.

The budgets unveiled at Leinster House, Westminster and Stormont in recent weeks have deliberately ring-fenced the profits of the wealthy while driving the rest of the population into misery and despair. In this regard, the ruling class are simply accelerating the rate of implementation of the same neo-liberal policies which created the current economic crisis in the first place.

The last 12 months have also seen the first, welcome signs of mass resistance to the policies of the right-wing coalitions in Belfast, Dublin and London. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets demanding that working people are not made the sacrificial lambs for the failure of capitalism.

In 2011, workers and communities across Ireland need to come together in the building of a coordinated campaign of uncompromising opposition to the slash and burn agenda of those in power. If this fight back is to be successful it will need to move beyond occasional street protests and angry rhetoric.

éirígí firmly believes that a period of intense popular resistance in the form of mass street protests, general strikes and acts of civil disobedience has the potential to stop the cutback agenda of the ruling political parties in its tracks.

The organised labour movement, with its unequalled organic and financial resources, represents the most obvious vehicle for the organisation of such a campaign of resistance. If the current trade union leadership is incapable or unwilling to take the necessary actions, then it must be replaced by one that is.

Now is the time for actions that will force those administering the cuts to reflect upon their own anti-social actions. éirígí will not be found wanting in this regard. In the year ahead, éirígí will be stepping up its own socio-economic campaigns across the country, both independently and through working with other progressive individuals and organisations.

While recognising the importance of the politics of protest at this time, éirígí also recognises that protest alone will not deliver the type of society that the people of Ireland deserve. Opposition without a viable alternative will not address the underlying causes of injustice and inequality in our society. Those organisations which oppose the agenda of the right have an obligation to explain what they would do differently were they in power.

For its part, éirígí recently published its From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come policy paper. This document sets out succinctly the malign role of capitalism and the need for a humane, socialist system to replace it. éirígí will be promoting the politics contained within From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come throughout 2011.

As it has done since its foundation, éirígí will continue in 2011 to highlight the inter-related nature of the socio-economic struggle and the struggle for national independence.

éirígí has consistently taken the demand for a British withdrawal onto the streets and into the faces of the occupiers, the year ahead will be no different. The presence and activities of the British army, the PSNI and MI5 in Ireland, the mistreatment of republican prisoners and British royal visits to Ireland are but some of the issues which éirígí will be actively campaigning on in 2011.

In doing so, éirígí will also work within working class communities in the occupied Six Counties to unlock the great potential of people power in challenging the occupation.

The building of the cultural revival, the popularisation of the Irish language, the promotion of Gaelic sports, along with the emergence of alternative social and economic structures within working class communities can radically alter the nature of the relationship between Irish citizens and the British state.

Working people themselves can potentially destabilise Britain’s Irish colony and shake the occupation by moving their lives outside the remit of the state. By refusing to speak its language, interact with its police force, or recognise the state’s legitimacy, the people can advance the re-conquest of Ireland by the working people of Ireland.

The British government has invested a massive amount of energy and money into its normalisation agenda over the last two decades. However, normalisation has now peaked. It is time to roll back that agenda.

Through the coordinated use of national, social, economic and cultural struggle throughout 2011, major progress can be made towards the achievement of the socialist republic.

We must do this together as one class and one people. Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.